One of highlights of our Bisignano Art Gallery schedule is the exhibit by our senior DART majors. The excitement is palpable. Animations, videos, photography, posters, books - you name it. This show indicates the end of our students' growth here at UD and it is an awesome experience. Their graduation day is around the corner, typically, and today often seems like a wave crashing upon the shore. Typically, that is. But this year, because of Covid-19, our exhibition is even more unique and memorable. Thanks to the students and especially Professor Sheila Sabers for organizing and hanging this show. Congratulations, graduates. Be safe. Be well. - Alan Garfield, Director of the Bisignano Art Gallery.
CONGRATS SENIORS! We are so proud of you and all your accomplishments. Your Senior Thesis Art Show is wonderful, and you rose to the challenge. It is an honor to teach the Senior Seminar class, I get the privilege of seeing your creative artwork through all of its challenges and setbacks that goes into the design process to the reward of seeing the amazing finished project – I love the journey. Thank you, Alan Garfield, in building this gallery website and to the students, thanks for the critique sessions, creation of award-winning projects, our talks in my office or in the classroom, and the shared laughter. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life. Stay in Touch! - Sheila Sabers, DART Professor.
Kobe Bryant the legend of USA basketball used to say all the time “Love what you do because there is nothing called failure since you keep trying.” That quote impacted my project and myself positively and made me make any challenges accepted. As a senior year at University of Dubuque with double majors in Digital art & design and Communication, I believed that both majors have a very high chemistry and connection because when I used to take design classes, communication is a very part of it, and when I used to take Communication classes, design is important part of it. Before I started my project, I was very nervous and conflicted. But, I decided to jump out of my comfort zone and do something that make me proud of myself when I graduate. So, I decided to do a book of international students and faculty at UD and support it with a video of international students describing UD include the President Jeff Bullock.
My project is very important to the international students who will attend UD, to the school and myself. Both Digital art and design and Communication departments are super great, and professors know how to create for you a healthy environment to improve your knowledge and skills. So, as I always wanted to return the favor, I decided to create the book to show others how I have learned and improved from those departments as English is my second language. Also, support it with a video called Smile you are in UD.
UD is a very supportive University, no matter your religion or race. Since I was a freshman in 2017, I have noticed the support from teachers, students, organizations, and president Bullock who always do whatever it takes to make students feel welcomed. So, in 2021, I really loves that I highly encourage students whom looking for a school to choose UD then enjoy the journey. Hopefully, UD will continue the fabulous job of welcoming all students from all around the world. However, in each page of the book will be about an interviewer with their thoughts about UD and what they have brought to UD then I will add two paragraphs about how I met them or what I think of them. Under their name will be their countries code. For Example, Abdul Alshammari, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). In the other side, the video will support the book by making President Bullock starts the video then UD sign. After that, each student will talk about their opinion about UD, in the end, each student will look to the camera then smile. That is why I called both the book & book by Smile you are in UD.
As a Muslim, I must thank God for everything. I am nothing without them, and I am super grateful to the strongest women on earth my mom Thanwa and to the guy with a unique charisma, my dad Haif. 5 years away from home, could not done it without my ten lovely sisters, Itedal, Amal, Reem, Fatima, Mariam, Maha, Shmoukh, Noor, Shajin, and Tala. Also, my brothers, Adel, Salem, and Majed. My family is always my biggest value and identity. I am super grateful for Alan Garfield and Phyllis Garfield. Honestly, there is no words can give them the praise they worth, but they will last in my heart forever. Dart department has a place in my heart. I can`t forget to thank Sheila sabers for her teaching, helping and patience with me, I am so thankful for her, thank you so much. Jean Holdener will do whatever it takes to help me learn and be on track, she always there for me when I needed, thank you so much Ms. Holdener. James Cullen cares about students equally, I remember when Covid-19 hits and everything switched to online, he did everything to make us feel comfortable in class and he always there for me, thank you so much. My teachers who taught me English, I feel a shame to not mention you because that the lowest thing I can give you, Dominique Taylor, David Cignoni, Heather Johnston, Samantha Sherry, Cindi Cripps, and Nate Brelsford. They always will be in my heart and I am always very grateful for them. Also, I want to thank my brother Alexander Saleh for always being here for me, and I am so grateful for him. Lastly, I would like to thank my second country USA for all the memories and it will last in my heart forever. Hate goodbyes but everything must come to an end. I will be grateful for everyone forever.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
My theme for my senior thesis is a combination of my culture, family, and self-reflection. In the first illustration is my family. I decided to set this up by putting them in their own picture frames. I wanted each frame to have a little bit of their personality tied to it. My parents have known each other since they were teenagers and have gone through so much just to make sure that their daughters got the best life. A little background on my parents, they immigrated from Mexico about 23 years ago. Iran, my older sister, has a strong and admirable personality. She is very outspoken and does not take crap from anyone. It’s funny to me because her favorite color is a soft lilac purple, but I guess it reflects the side soft of her. She does not care what others think of her and expresses herself so freely, it makes me envious. Leslie, my younger sister, is similar to Iran. Leslie always has a smile on her face, honestly it is her best feature. She is confident and knows who she is as a person. Both my sisters are quick with their witty come backs, which makes conversations hilarious. Chaco is the newest family member, and even though I was hesitant to welcome him. He won me over with his personality. Chaco is a big, intimidating pit bull but has a heart of gold. I love him so much. This is just a sneak peek into my family who I love and am so blessed to have.
The second piece is just a illustration on some of my favorite foods. Homemade tortillas, steak tacos, and tamales. These foods just remind me of what I love about my culture. You can learn a lot about a culture just by their food. Not only are the ingredients important but how you prepare it is special too. Tamales is a process that is usually a family effort and is a great way to spend time together. Steak tacos remind me of summer nights grilling out. Setting up the table with sides of diced onions and chopped cilantro and my mom’s homemade salsa verde. Homemade tortillas de harina is something I hope I can make someday because they go with almost every meal. There are many other foods that I love but these mean the most to me. And it’s one way I can feel close to my culture.
The final piece is a self-reflection. I wanted to make it simple because I am a simple person. I added the national flower of Mexico, which is the dahlia. Not only is the dahlia a beautiful flower, but I looked up the meaning behind it and the significance is finding inner strength. It also means remaining graceful and embracing positive changes. I don’t know much about flowers but when I found this out, I found this fitting to me personally. Finding my inner strength to be able to go through the things I went through and will be going through in the future. I also added the Iowa state flower which is the prairie rose or wild rose. I illustrated this because I grew up in Iowa. Small town, Belmond, Iowa. I have a love/hate to that town but it made me who I am today. Also met my best friends in the whole world, Mariah Buseman and Cidney Flaten, who have been through so much with me. This piece is mostly just about growth and how even after college we will just continue to grow no matter where we go or end up.
I would like to thank my parents, Javier and Magdalena Carlos, my sisters, Iran and Leslie Carlos. For being there for me and supporting me. For teaching me the values in life and making me the person I am today. I love you guys and so blessed to have you as my family. My friends Mariah Buseman and Cidney Flaten for being there for me for so many years and reminding me to live a little. My new friends I made while attending UD, Samantha Mick, Brianna Finnegan, Maddie Sturm, Marissa Loftin. I didn’t think I would make so many friends here that have made such a huge impact in my life and I am so glad to have met you all. Thank you to my professors, James Cullen, Allen Garfield, Jean Holdener, and Sheila Sabers. Thank you for guiding me when I joined this department sophomore year. Helping me catch up and teaching so much about this when I had no idea what I wanted to do.
Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated with creatures of mythology and folklore. I would always love to come home from school and jump into a game with an online fantasy world were I could just relax and have fun with friends. In both my past and in current day, I often see myself enjoying games where you can play as something other than a human. This led me in search for related online games where players can play as various mythological creatures. Surprisingly, I was never able to find a game similar to what I was looking for, even when I knew a lot of people had similar interests. This is what led me to the passion of creating such a game that was the foundation for my senior thesis project. My goal isn’t to just make a video game. It’s to make a game that is unique to others that will be enjoyed by those with similar interests as myself and will have the opportunity to create positive memorable moments for its players. I’ve found a lot of my friends on online games, and I hope other people can do the same with this one.
I wanted to create an online survival video game where you could play as creatures of mythology and try to grow and survive in a fantasy world. Players start off at the bottom of the food chain, having the option to either play as a jackalope or a nekomata. All players start off young, and steadily grow through the different stages of life over time. Players progress through the food chain by exploring the world and finding different stone fragments needed to unlock new characters. Starting off with small characters, everyone works their way up in size and strength, unlocking other creatures such as unicorns, kitsune, dragons, and more. You’d meet other players, uncover hidden secrets, explore the lands, and more. I didn’t have the resources to make such a creation when I was younger, but through my studies at UD I’ve been learning what it takes to be a digital artist to make my passion come to life.
Before I even started my project, I knew it was going to be a big task to handle. However, games take years to make, even longer if you’re a lone developer. Considering this, I knew I wouldn’t have a complete game as a finished product. In the end, I knew it would be more of a “teaser” for what is to come. My hope is to keep working on this project even after I graduate to achieve a completely functional game. This project was certainly a lot of work and I’ve spent a few hours (or more) each day working on it, sacrificing almost all my free time, but it has been something that I have enjoyed doing. A lot of the components I needed to know to make this project work were achieved through self-research and learning, which admittedly could get pretty stressful and frustrating at times. However, in times like those I found it best to stop, take a good break, and come back to the issue later with a clear head. All the new information that I’ve learned over the course of this project has given me a new appreciation for game developers and those working with 3D programs and game engines in general. Animation itself it a lot more of a process than what people may make it out to be. While it is not a complete project overall, I am satisfied with how it has turned out. I didn’t quite get at much done as I had first planned. However, I believe that for a single, first time developer to reach the point that I have gotten to in a span of just a little over three months is noteworthy.
This project would not have been possible without the support and feedback from my friends and family. I would like to first thank my mom and dad, Kimberly and Jason Feuss, for their support throughout my entire college experience. I would also like to thank two of my good online friends, Kevin and Kylie, for giving me feedback on my project from a consumer’s standpoint and helping me to test the integrity of the game. A special thanks goes out to my professors; Alan Garfield, Sheila Sabers, Jim Cullen, and Jean Holdener for constantly helping me out with any of my project and helping me improve throughout the years. Finally, I would like to thank my fellow DART students for making my time at UD the fun that it has been. These past few years have provided me with many good memories, and I hope that those who follow after me will find the same by the time they graduate at well.
Lost Nation, IA
For my senior thesis, I wanted to create something that was meaningful to me and strongly impacted my life. I live with Bipolar disorder as well as a few other important people in my life. My goal was to try and emulate the different phases of bipolar that I experience; manic, depression, and what I call “static.” The red represents manic because it is extreme, intense and feels overwhelming. Depression is blue, feeling hopeless, sad, and falling down from the manic high. The static is the in-between, feeling like you’re lost or at a standstill and sometimes makes life look and feel a little fuzzy. I chose to use a rope to represent climbing out of the depression, falling from the rope back into depression, and the feeling of being stuck in depression at the end of the rope. The images without a rope demonstrates that feeling of being lost or stuck.
Bipolar disorder takes a toll on my everyday life and is a big part of who I’ve become. I¬¬ found a love for ¬graphic design and it gives me the opportunity to express and show another big part of my life. ¬-The title of my senior project is “Hopelessly Frantic.” I decided this because it generally describes to two phases of Bipolar: manic and depression. Hopeless is one of the feelings of depression and frantic describes a wild emotion of being manic.
I want people to understand that saying, “They’re so Bipolar,” when someone’s mood changes in a quick second because something upsets or angers them, is an inaccurate representation of the disorder. It’s different lengths of time when you’re down and depressed and then being manic, whether it’s in a good productive way feeling like you have a lot of energy and optimism to do what you set your mind to or self-destruction caused by extreme emotions and behavior. Some people may even experience different types of psychosis like hallucinations and delusions during their mania phase. These phases can last days, weeks or months and you never know when it’s coming, what phase it’ll be or how long it’ll last. It can be hard for people to accept this diagnosis, I myself am a part of this group of people. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I finally accepted it and accepted the help that was offered to me. I’ve realized that my life could have been completely different without this help. Where would I be? How would my emotions affect milestones in my life? Not only did it affect me, but it affected others around me. It was hard for them to understand the way I was feeling and why I was feeling and acting the way I was. My senior thesis is a way that I can try my best to show someone how Bipolar disorder can feel, instead of trying to explain it in words.
First, I would like to thank my parents, Tom and Jodi, for the endless love and support and always believing in me. Without them, I would not be the person I am today. Thank you to my family and friends for always supporting me, believing in me, and letting me vent to them at any hour. And to my god mother, Brooke Pfeiffer, for also believing in me, supporting me, and opening the door of opportunity to my future at Kendall Hunt. Thank you, Christa Kurtz, for also listening to me vent to you, keeping me on track, and being my best DART friend. I would also like to thank my professor, Sheila Sabers, for her knowledge, support, and extra hours after class. She is always willing to help me as much as she can and pushes me to be the best person and designer I can be. And finally, thank you to professors Jean Holdener, Jim Cullen, and Alan Garfield for expanding my skills in different areas of design and always going the extra mile for every one of us. My time at UD will always be something I’ll cherish, thanks to everyone in DART who has made this experience so memorable.
As my senior year comes to an end, life has never failed to teach me valuable lessons. Mostly because of family & friends playing a huge part in creating the man I am today. The memories shared with these people will last a lifetime spending some of my time in places like Liberia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Dubuque. Family and friends are the ones that keep me together and encourage me to do better every day. Having family keeps you in great spirit and friends leave you wanting more time spent with them. I wish I could be with you all forever. My mindset is becoming a lot better lifestyle for the future. Therefore, my senior thesis is going to be illustrations from my life journey. The illustrations will portray togetherness with family and friends, these are people who keep the many experiences on this journey worth living. It will also show the environments throughout the years. It has not been easy but as I move on the memories created from each place is the backbone to my life journey.
Drawing didn’t start until arriving in the United States at 7 years old, in the town of Erie, Pennsylvania. Art classes in school attracted my attention at an early age, I have always thought of it as a hobby but until this year it is something more sophisticated. This knowledge has been overshadowed for a while because soccer was the highlight of my life. Therefore, I wanted to create illustrational scripts that represented the places and people in my life. My life has always been wonderful with great people guiding. There are challenges caused by family fights, but we find ways to wake up the day after telling each other good morning and to have a good day. My parents, brothers, uncles, aunts and cousins inspired the idea of togetherness. This idea arose from them never giving up on us as young kids from Africa to The Great America’s. The illustrations show the people and experience at the time they taught me something. Each time I have learned to always keep going.
The moto is to keep going even when it hurts the experience because sometimes you do not fully understand something but always want stay on the path. I’m thankful for all my friends who come around and help correct my bad habits that I’m not aware of at times. Huge shout out to my fellow classmates, the things I’ve learned from them in class will last forever in the designer world. This year has been tough to figure out but thankyou again for making it better. Even when I’m not around you all, just know you’re always on mind. The strength gained from your guidance is why most of you are part of this thing I call my new family for the future.
My life and senior thesis would not be possible without people and places I have been or known who showed me never to give up on my dreams. Thanking my mother is very satisfying, Edith Carr has been a wonderful mother and all the above. She has been dedicated to me and my brothers since bringing us into this world, without her family I would not have such amazing relatives. I would like to thank you Uncle Isaac Carr and his wife my aunty Ophelia family for raising me up to the man I am today. Your welcoming love showered me with hope to want to be great in life. Finally, I am grateful for all my professors at UD. Thank you to my Dart professors I am a better man now then when arriving, thankyou Alan Garfield for showing your passionate teaching style that amused and focused an average student. Huge thank you professors Sheila Sabers for your insightful thoughts of reminding me everyday what I wanted out of each class and work force even when I failed to keep that goal in mind. Thank you, professors Jean Holdener for your range in the arts, expanding my vocabulary to another level. Showing what daily life as a grown would be like not knowing what challenges you might face at any time. Thankyou to you all for sticking with me, God bless you all.
Rock Island, IL
I decided to make my senior thesis on some of the ways I like to spend my time. The moments depicted in my project are ones that make me appreciate life and the wide range of emotions we get to feel while we are here. The images shown range from moments of adrenaline, to those of freedom and peace. These memories make me grateful to be alive and able to do the things that make me happiest. Grateful to feel the rush of adrenaline caused by looking over the edge or the awe of looking out over the mountains at the huge world that is in front of us to appreciate and experience. I am always trying to take advantage of these experiences; to take advantage of the time I have to be alive and do the things I love.
This year has really shown me how we never know what is next, so we really have to appreciate what we have now. We only ever truly have what exists in the present. Time is the most valuable thing we have, yet so easy to waste.
Every time we put ourselves in uncomfortable situations, not only do we grow as people, but we also learn to be more grateful. Life is not about being comfortable. The most growth, the most learning, and the most memorable experiences come from being uncomfortable. Comfort is the killer of a meaningful life. Every time I get close to the edge of a building, not only do I get to experience the rush of adrenaline, but I also am reminded of how precious life is and how close we are to losing it at all times. When we get up in the morning, we are never guaranteed the rest of that day. It is easy to get too comfortable and let the days slip by. It is easy to forget how much life truly means and how lucky we really are to be alive. All we have is now.
Through my collages of photos and photoshopped images I hope to show a bit of how I feel in these moments; blurs of emotions and memories. My project is made up of different spreads, on the right side of each spread I have created images through different blending methods and photoshopped pictures taken for this project. On the left side of each spread, I have varying pictures from each location; some showing different perspectives of the locations.
I would like to thank my parents, Angela and Wayne, for helping me through my many different schools and changes in my major. Even when switching majors in my junior year, my parents did whatever they could to help me and supported the path I chose. I would like to thank my grandparents and other relatives for also supporting me. I would like to give thanks to my professors, Jean, Alan, and Sheila for teaching me what they know, providing important feedback, and giving -encouragement. A thank you to Azaria, for going on all of these adventures with me, for providing me with feedback, and for allowing me to use her camera. Thanks to Emily S. and Emily D. for allowing me to vent and for being support along the way. Thanks to Dr. Baus and Dr. Simcox for words of encouragement and guidance when I was considering changing my major last year and for support during the journey. Thanks to Laura for her wisdom, support, and guidance. Thanks to Yazzi for being an encouraging friend and always hyping me up. All of these people and more have helped me along my journey and I greatly appreciate it.
The goal of these projects was to challenge myself to try different styles and to see what I could make. I wanted to see if I could emulate common stylistic choices I’d seen in pop culture from movies to video games. After a lot of studying and practice, I believe I accomplished that goal with the models made for my Senior Thesis.
Despite being inspired by other mediums, the original idea and design for the character was my own. I had always found hyenas to be curious and funny creatures with laughable features and a punk aesthetic. Along with them, I took inspiration from gnolls, a fantasy race found in games such as World of Warcraft and Dungeons & Dragons, who are already essentially human-like hyenas. The idea of making the character anthropomorphic (walking on two legs rather than four) came from the desire to meet specific parameters for each model that would just work better with a bipedal form rather than quadrupedal.
My first model is a sculpt based on the DreamWorks style and features a focus on exaggerated proportions. After looking over the studio’s style for some time, I saw a pattern of enlarged aspects to almost every character’s body that would make a natural cartoony aspect to their form, especially in what would be considered secondary characters. A face would be larger than the rest. Legs would be almost needlessly tall. Bellies, wider than realistically possible. All of this came together to create more dynamic and enjoyable characters, a goal I strove for.
For my second model, I wanted to change lenses and work towards making the same character with the least amount of resources as possible. A return to simpler times, so to speak, in an effort to better understand how modern principles were formed. That meant making what are now considered “low-poly” models, despite the fact hardware of the times I was trying to recreate could barely render models of the same quality. While I couldn’t find any exact details as to how many polygons early systems such as the Nintendo GameCube or Sony PlayStation as the numbers could change per game, I made my aim to have less than 1,000 polys, a count I felt comfortably represented low-poly standards. I easily managed to create a basic shape that I felt properly conveyed who my character was, but I was left with an issue I had not really faced before: the textures for anything pre-2005 was guaranteed to be handmade and only had colormaps. This meant no procedural generators, a practice I had become accustomed to using. Although uncomfortable at first, I found myself enjoying the task of painting on textures and am rather happy with the result.
Overall, these pieces are the result of lots of skills, techniques, and programs coming together in order to reach a single goal. But that’s just the technological aspect. More importantly, it’s the people I’ve worked with and who inspired me along the way that really made this project come to fruition. Specifically, Professor Sheila Sabers, who believed in me long past I had ceased believing in myself. My parents, Sue and Gary Bergfeld, and siblings, Kaitlyn and Matthew, for being ever-patient and understanding. And my dear friend Holly, who has always been my rock and a true friend. Without their help, I can’t imagine being in the place I am today and I am forever grateful for that.
Web Design and Development Minor
I have had many ideas for a senior project, and I have been wanting to make a video for a long time, so I decided to make this animation for my senior thesis. It is a true story of my mother and me when we were apart. She was always busy earning enough money to support our family. I didn’t understand, and I felt frustrated by our relationship, so I decided to ignore her, refusing to talk much, and not answering the phone when she called. This is the same as the animation’s main character. He ends up realizing that his silence is hurtful.
Through this animation I would like to remind others that no matter what your family does, they always love you and are on your side. Sometimes, when we leave home to step out into society, we try to fit in to the new world around us. We may give up some of our past, including our family’s values, and hide who we really are. My video shows the character remembering the ways his mother cared for him and loved him. This realization helps him start to appreciate all the ways his mother put him first.
I created this video because I would like to honor my mother, Vicky Chen, and her self-sacrifice. My mother is a strong single mom who took care of three kids all alone after my father passed away. All of the pressure for our survival was on her. She didn’t complain; instead she kept moving forward. Although it was hard, she moved to a different country where she didn’t even understand the language, so she could provide for us. In my family, we don’t say I love you to each other; we show our feelings in other ways. I would like to use this video to show Vicky that I love her.
This project taught me how important it is to manage my time well. I thought parts of the video were like other class projects that I could put off for a while. I learned how much preparatory thinking I need to do, how many assets I need to create, and how long it takes for each of the scenes to get done. I also learned that if I am stuck, I just need to keep moving ahead because I can always go back and fix something later. For instance, I was not sure how to create a flashback scene. I wasted a lot of time trying to come up with the best way to do it which slowed down the progress of the whole project by at least a week. This project also taught me that I need to stay positive. Many times I put added pressure on myself by just spinning my wheels. I worry about things that are not done and perseverate about a better way of doing what I have already done. If I don’t just start working on my project the problems are not going to get solved.
I would like to thank the following people for a variety of reasons. First, I would like to express my gratitude to my family, my mother Vicky Chen & my brother Wu Lin, who supported me. They gave me emotional encouragement and support when I need it. I also want to thank Larry and Kathy Pisarik who taught me English and American customs. They allowed me to live with them during high school and throughout college. They also inspired me to find a sense of myself worth, which I have used to help others. Without them I couldn’t have gotten this far. I would like to thank Dick Smith who paved the way for me to attend this wonderful university and to meet so many helpful professors. The Digital Art and Design professors are like a family to me. I can joke around with them and talk with them any time I need help from them. Alan Garfield helped keep me engaged and made me feel included. Sheila Saber’s caring, positive attitude and kept me moving forward. Jean Holdener gave me good advice and assisted me in balancing my major and minor coursework. James Cullen helped me understand how to stay organized in order to successfully meet real world expectations. Some DART friends also impacted in moving forward. Sam Schafer and Matthew Stevens supported me when I ran into obstacles. Thank you to each of you for your friendship.
When I first started this senior project, I knew I wanted to do something in relation to my faith, however, that was the easy part. Coming up with the idea as a whole took many tries. I decided on a short film because I have always been fascinated with videography and I knew this type of project would teach me so much more about it. This project initially was supposed to tell the story about how I emotionally and mentally felt during my first semester here at UD and how much I struggled. Once I finished this video I realized this short film took a complete turn to a different meaning.
The 2020 quarantine was definitely hard on everyone but for me, it felt like my entire world was falling apart. I went through a break up, my pastor and his wife moved away, my mom ended up in the hospital for heart problems and my dad and I couldn't go in to see her, and worst of all I felt incredibly far away from God. All of this led me into a deep depression that I had never experienced before. I got out of bed in the mornings looking forward to going back into bed that night so I could have 9 to 11 hours of no pain. I was sleeping 11 hours because I never wanted to wake up and face this loneliness I felt. I eventually sought God again and I went to counseling during the summer and eventually the depression went away.
This short film "Seek Me" is my deep feelings during this moment of my life coming out into video form. This short film is meant to be sad, and is meant to maybe make you tear up. I tried hard to really express these feelings I had all through this video and the song I chose for this short film helps immensely with that. The song Blessings by Laura Story was actually recommended to me from one of my cousins during my break up. I could fully connect with the lyrics and ever since, this song has meant so much to me.
The biggest lesson I learned during all of this is that you should always be prepared for any and all obstacles that could come your way. When getting the photo for my Movie Poster, we had to walk through probably a foot of snow, maybe more, we also had to scrap ice from the doorway of the church in order to get in. I had also planned to use a drone for one of my shots, but the drone ended up not working well so we scratched that. We also last minute decided to add a few other scenes I wasn't even planning on doing from the beginning. You really never know what could change when you are filming a video.
I couldn't be prouder of how this project turned out and I couldn't have done it without Sarah Blackburn, Jacob Herrmann, and Marc Gravert. I first want to thank Sarah, if it wasn't for you I would not have had a star for my film. You depicted the character so well and you overall just did an amazing job! Second, I want to thank Jacob for helping me film. Without you I wouldn’t have had so many different angles to shoot from and this film would not be the way it is without you. Lastly, I want to thank Marc, if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have had a church to film in! You provided me the access and you even helped out with the lighting. I also want to thank you for scrapping the ice away from the doorway of the church and squeezing through a small crack in the door in order to get in!
I want to also thank my parents, Dan and Melissa, if it wasn't for you two, I would not even be at UD right now. You both have supported me throughout the years and lifted me up during frustrating evenings when doing homework for 4 hours straight. I want to thank all my friends and family for encouraging me and helping me these last two years at UD. You all have showed an immense amount of unconditional love and support through all of this. Lastly, I want to thank my professors Sheila, Alan, and Jean for teaching me how to be the designer I am today. I came in not knowing hardly anything about Adobe Products and now I know them like the back of my hand!
On January 1, 2007, after 25 years of honored and dedicated service to my country, I retired from the U.S. Air Force at the rank of Lt. Colonel. While in the military, my job specialty was a communications and computer systems officer. I held many different technology positions during my career to include three times as a Commander of Troops at the Detachment, Squadron, and Group Levels of Leadership. Key assignments were the opportunity to serve at the Pentagon for three years and in Hawaii for three years. The greatest and most rewarding military job assignment was Commander of the 97th Communications Squadron, Altus AFB, Oklahoma.
Over the years as a family, we have taken thousands of pictures to document bases and states where we were assigned and military events taking place to include tourist locations in the area. We have had a wonderful and rewarding life and military career. For this project, I wanted to create an art piece that would exist long after I am no longer alive for hopefully someone to remember us. I wanted to create a patriotic legacy of my military career as a digital shadowbox of pictures.
The title of my senior project is Patriotism Legacy. The technology tool to create this project is 2021 Adobe Photoshop with pictures printed to a canvas surface. This digital collage was developed over 6 different canvases and each canvas represents different military assignments during my career. A digital wavy flag is displayed as the top layer across all the canvas panels and serves as the common patriotic thread when linking all the canvases together.
First, I want to thank all the photographers that took pictures of my military career and life. Without the pictures there would be no memories of my military legacy. While it was tough sometimes to go back into the past to look at pictures, it was a very rewarding experience. The memories made me happy but also showed all the time that has passed and love ones that have died, which made me sad. I am just glad we have the many memories the pictures recorded. It enabled me to reflect on a great life, family, and military career. I want to thank my wife, Vonnie, and my daughter, Nichole who definitely made my military career possible and for understanding why I was not always around because I was gone serving my country. I want to thank my mother-in-law, Joan Hingtgen. She visited us at every military assignment, Washington D.C., two times and Hawaii, four times. I want to thank our animals that we adopted during my military career, who had no choice but to move as we moved to a new assignment. I want to thank Casey and Nichole for the beautiful grandchildren we have, who have made our life very interesting and exciting since our retirement. I want to thank the Walmart employee named Kim for working with me to get these 6 panels of pictures printed onto canvases. I want to thank Professor Alan Garfield for his candid humor and expertise he provided during any DART class I had with him and the fun times of just stopping by his office unannounced and having a conversation with him. I want to thank Professor Jean Holdener for my past DART classes with her and her tremendous knowledge and expertise she provided especially during the Covid 19 virtual classes when we were totally shut down and had to be educated from home. She is truly a master of virtual classes and her ability to teach remotely was a top-of-the-line production. And finally, I want to thank my advisor, Professor Sheila Sabers for her knowledge and expertise during past DART classes with her, allowing me to take this class in a virtual environment and all the time, help and encouragement she provided me, especially during this Senior Project journey.
The University of Dubuque should be extremely proud of their Digital Art and Media (DART) Professors and Professionals. I was lucky to take classes during their time frame and soon I will graduate with my ultimate degree in life with a Bachelor of Science degree in DART studies.
2020 was a year that will be remembered. It has affected each and every one of us in some sort of way. Far too much happened over that span of 365 days that its difficult to find a place to start when talking about it. For my Senior Sem project I opted to tackle this and see how I could represent some events visually. How I approached this was to sit down and look back at last year and see what came to mind first. I would then look at those events and see what could be done about them. As of late I have been working a lot in Adobe Illustrator, so I wanted to keep that going and create several images that represent events of 2020.
There were many iterations in my mind for what I wanted to do that were reworked before finally settling on something. In no particular order, 3 image ideas came to mind. The first is to have some of those that passed away at a coffee shop enjoying each other’s company. I have mad love for coffee, and personally know that coffee often brings good times. I thought it would be a comfortable sight to see those that left us enjoying themselves and each other over a coffee. The figures I chose were ones that impacted me the most. Kobe Bryant was the first athlete that I remembered by name and even inspired me to play basketball for a time. And like everyone else, I was sad to see him go. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is another powerful figure I knew by name too. I learned how much she did while in the Supreme Court when I took an AP Government class a while back and was truly fascinated to see how much it shaped has shaped the country into what it is today. Of the many people that have an office in our country, she was one of the greats. The second image is one of a desolate Times Square. I once saw a picture of that place with no people or cars, and it was rather haunting. That place is always active, that is what it is known for. So, seeing it empty was something powerful. I chose to take a personal approach in style with this piece to make it how I interpreted it. For the most part, there is little to no life in grayscale which is why I created the city with no color. The city is muted, in both color and life. But the sky is colored to signify the brighter days to come. Lastly, made a silhouette representation of the massive wildfires that happened in Australia. The Australian fire specifically came to mind as the fire ignited the continent and could be seen from space, which is not something that happens often. Everyone in the United States knew of the California fire so I wanted to show some awareness to the fire on the other side of the globe. That tragedy will likely go down as one of the worse fires in history. The art style will be different for each in some way to further differentiate them.
This was quite an undertaking for me as there was little direction as to how to go about it. This is entirely of my own mind and hand. Fortunately, I have been blessed to have the mentors and family that I do that have prepared me for this, not only for my work but also my character. Firstly, I want to thank Teach, Sheila, who dealt with me through all these years, lifted me when I was down, and kept me going through the fire and flames. A thank you to Alan Garfield and Jim Cullen, both wizards of the industry who gave precious insight and instruction with a radiant passion for their craft. And Jean, who somehow knew exactly what I needed to hear, even when it was not what I wanted. I am grateful to my parents, Juan and Erika Ramos who supported me in my decisions and gave input when I needed it. And a thorough thank you to my older brother who I call Junior for calling me out when I was slipping up without sugarcoating anything. He had no mercy on me. Of course, a shout out to all my classmates who went through the same journey. We shared struggles, success, and brought out the best in each other to do the most we could do. And God, who was with me every step of the way.
Everybody here has made this a time to remember. Thank you all.
My senior thesis is a comic about the life of my character named Mary. Mary begins her life as a normal child and then gets adopted by an old rich man to take care of his terminally ill granddaughter. His granddaughter then teaches Mary magic against the law. Since it is against the law for lower class women to learn or use magic, Mary gets arrested by the royal guard. The White Magic Queen is given all of Mary’s notes. What is in store for Mary’s future?
Back in middle school I had multiple dreams creating all of my characters. Some were nightmares of the villains chasing me down and killing me and some were pleasant dreams of the other characters saving me from the villains. Slowly over time I began to make these people from my dreams into my own personal characters to draw out and to eventually tell their stories. From time to time, I’ll dream about them and their pasts and will be able to interact with them. They are important to me since they are a part of my fantasy world that I like to escape to when I bored, tired, or trying to get inspiration. Since middle school I have been trying to draw out all of the characters I’ve dreamt of over the years but have been extremely unsuccessful since procrastination is a thing and unmotivated to write their backstories. Over the summer I decided to write the backstories of all of my characters and eventually wanted to turn their stories into a comic or a webcomic. I decided to write all of their names on slips of paper and randomly chose one from the bucket. After I picked Mary name I immediately began working on her backstory. After her story was finished school started and everything was pushed to the side. Then 2nd semester began, and we were told that we needed to decide what we are going to do for our senior project. So, I thought “this is a perfect opportunity to work on my comic” so I decided to make a comic about Mary’s backstory. I used the 3d models in the program to help me decide what poses the characters are going to be in and the lighting and shadows for the characters. I used my art books and some research to decide what hair, outfits and facial expressions the characters should have. I sketched out each pose and drew over the sketch in another layer then I placed down the base colors and then the shadows. After that I then placed down the background color, text and any unfilled holes in the piece.
I thank my parents Diane and Scott Schafer for raising and believing in my abilities and encouraging me to continue along this path of art. I thank Eleanor for giving up your kidney to a complete stranger who needed a kidney transplant at 9 years old. I thank Annie and Roy Scofield for giving birth to such a generous daughter. I thank my professors Alan Garfield, Sheila Sabers, Jean Holdener, and Jim Cullen for teaching me all 4 years and teaching me all that I now know. I thank Lori Welsh for wanting to be kept updated on my progress of the senior project and giving me feedback of what I can fix for the next time I show her the next updated piece. I thank my fellow DART classmates and friends for encouraging me and giving feedback. Without you I wouldn’t be this far. I also thank my Discord friends Tetski, Reia, and Spinach for helping me. I thank Tetski for getting on my ass to stop procrastinating and to do my work. I also thank him for suggesting streaming me working on my project so that I can get a following for when I do decide to publish this as a webcomic. I thank Reia for recommending different manga to read to get references for different camera angles and different ways to show off a scene. I thank Spinach for helping me with hair placements and some minor changes to make the scene look more realistic instead of flat.
Des Moines, IA
A Look into My Soul is more than just a book. This collection of poems did not start as a collection at all. The individual poems were all written at different times over years of pain and growth. I carefully chose the poems in the collection to illustrate an emotional timeline. The book is dedicated to the “internally conflicted who seek validation on their journey to attain healing...and to those who we’ve lost along the way.” I want the person who picks up my book to know that they are not alone in their heartache. Healing from troubled times and past wounds can be hard. Some people may hit rock bottom before they learn to love themselves and rebuild who they are meant to be.
The overarching theme of the book itself is that there are demons that we have to fight off daily. Sometimes we can get caught up in temptations and lose focus and faith. The color scheme matches the tone of the poems. The black and grays represent the dark times and the cloudiness of the mind that one may feel at their lowest. The red represents the pain. The poems collectively tell one story, that there is someone else who knows how you feel when you find yourself feeling alone and helpless. The book ends with poems that show the growth and healing of someone who’s rediscovering their faith not just in a higher power, but in themselves.
This project is special to me because it tells my story in a way that others can place themselves in. The reader can walk with me on my journey to attain healing after all the losses I took. The book includes a poem about the death of my mother and a poem about the death of my father. I added poems about lost love and poems that detail the loss of self. There’s a poem where I question life and consider death because that is just a harsh reality that needs to be included in the conversation.
Without the people who supported me along my journey, I may not have made it to where I am today. I want to show gratitude to those who’ve always been in my corner. I thank God first and foremost for his guidance and patience. I thank my grandmother, Dorothy Dunbar, for raising me to be a strong and determined woman. I acknowledge the important rolls both of my parents, Yolanda Bell and Richard Smith, played in my path to success. I want to express sincere gratitude to Sheila Sabers. A woman who was not just my advisor and professor but also a mentor and a maternal figure. Lastly, but significantly, I give an abundance of gratitude to my cousin Shakiah Bell. Playing multiple roles as sister, best friend, motivator, and backbone. I am appreciative that I have people in my life that believes in me and wish for me to continue on my journey of healing and growth.
Since coming to Dubuque and attending college at the University of Dubuque I have been able to meet and experience many different sides of myself. Moving away from my mom and step out into the world not only amplified my own mental health but caused me to stop running from it and face it head on every single day. The title of my senior project is called “Hidden Emotions” because I wanted to separate and highlight me different mental states and emotions that many people don’t see when they view me.
Growing up I realized that I struggled a lot with anxiety which stemmed from trauma I experienced as I grew up in different states and countries. Constantly moving, trying to make new friends and fitting in, and also struggling to love myself and my fast-changing body. All normal and common themes of growing up, while also trying to handle anxiety, bullying, and depression, while not truly getting the help I needed to cope with it all. Which also would lead to making poor decisions that didn’t just harm myself but the people around me who cared about my well-being.
In high school I never fully addressed my mental health. I would always consider it but constantly turn the idea down, thinking things would smooth themselves out on their own. It wasn’t until I moved from Baumholder, Germany to the United states, moving to Dubuque Iowa, did I finally decide to start making a serious attempt to take my mental health seriously. Being on my own and not having my mom’s constant guidance, it took only about three to four months to realize that the way I was previously carrying on in life, could not sustain me as a young adult. In fact, ignoring things longer made the anxiety and depression worse than before.
So, in the pursuit for better mental health and self-love, I dove more into what drew me to my major in the first place. My love for art and creativity. What I wanted “Hidden Emotions” to represent and translate was that the personal journey for a better mindset and self-love is never a straight and steady path. You can become lost in your own mind and feel as if you are in the deepest pit, but that is the process. The deep lows in your life then allow you to truly appreciate the moments when you come out of them and are better for it. My mixed media paintings show the depth of my most vulnerable emotions and the beauty I see in them for what they have taught me about myself and the world.
I would not have made it through these lows alone though. I managed to build connections with people from all over, but the following people are the ones who got me through these four years and inspired and motivated me to keep moving forward despite things getting hard. My mother Nova is my number one supporter and the person who inspires me the most. I truly wish to be as strong as her one day. For most of my life she raised me on her own and supported me through college allowing me to not worry further than I needed to. Next, I would like to thank two of my DART professors. Sheila Sabers for honing my love for digital illustrations, package design, and type, and also allowing me to cry and vent in her office occasionally. And Jean Holdener for introducing me to mixed media which helped inspire my senior project. In fact, she is a big contributor for the creation of my senior project as she helped my build my boards and transfer my images during her own personal time. Lastly, I would like to thank my friends Bri X and Kaai Williams who have taught me to value myself and my work and showing me my real potential.
Ever since I was in 4th grade I have loved music, as it was then when I started taking drumming lessons and really began to understand and feel the music. My first drum set was made up of various pots and pans from the kitchen and wooden spoons as drumsticks. Later proving itself as an effective way for me to practice and learn all of the basics for drumming until I got a real set. This largely inspired me towards trying to inspire others as my own homemade start to drumming has now bloomed into a large love for playing music along with a totally music driven lifestyle. Now-a-days drumming helps me destress along with just take my mind off of things by putting me in the zone. This has especially helped me with getting through such isolated times while also keeping me active. This project, by explaining different instruments that everyone can easily make to have some fun is an attempt to help bring out this same love for music in others. All the while gives them something to take their mind off the stress for a bit. As it gives everyone a simple and cheap way to get inspired themselves.
During the process of making the animation I was able to learn a lot more about After Effects, specifically it taught me better ways of keyframe smoothing in the graph editor to create a more natural feel to the animation. While also teaching me the process of creating all the assets needed in order to be able to step things out for people and successfully show how to create things inside of an animation not only animate them.
I would like to give gratitude first off toward my mom and dad Pam and Randy, for always pushing me to be my very best through thick and thin, they are truly always there for me no matter what it is and are the best support I could ever ask for.
I would also like to give gratitude towards my professor Jean Holdener, as she is an extremely happy and inspiring teacher whose classes are always a blast. She taught me everything I know about how to draw things correctly, produce images on all sorts of types of media, and create cool and unique characters.
To my professor Alan Garfield, who not only was one of the reasons I came here to University of Dubuque with his awesome charisma and humor he always carries and did during the showcase of their facilities during my visit. But also, has taught me all about Website Creation and Dreamweaver while making me laugh every day in the process.
My professor James Cullen for being an amazing 3D and game development teacher, truly opening my mind to all the possibilities 3D software’s such as Unity and Autodesk offer. While also teaching me a ton about how it is working, collaborating, and breaking up objectives in teams with others to reach a large end goal in the end. He is extremely good at explaining some of the most complicated things when you are confused and has an amazing teaching style.
Last but definitely not least is my Advisor and Professor Sheila Sabers as she has not only taught me everything I know about design along with how to truly understand and incorporate a message. But also, at the same time has always been a massive support in my time here at UD not only just for schoolwork but also mental fortitude as she pushes me to be the best. She has always been one major thing that kept me going and striving to do better.
Thank you all, not only for everything you have done for me in helping me achieve my degree and dream education. But also, for being the amazing people you are pushing all of your students to be their best and reach their maximum potential. Thank you!
Crystal Lake, IL
When I started thinking about my senior thesis I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do. I had no clue until it was the day before we had to present our idea. I was listening to one of my favorite bands, the 1975s song “Give yourself a try”. In this song the lead singer sings a line that says “what would you say to your younger self”, a question often asked of celebrities and a question I constantly ask myself. The response he gave isn't something that someone would normally respond with it was sarcastic, “growing a beard is quiet and whiskey never starts to taste nice”. This simple question got me thinking.
How would people respond to this question with the strict guidelines that it needs to be sarcastic? What is something you wish you told your younger self so you might not make a simple mistake, or maybe tell them not to do something that could change your whole life now? That day I determined that I wanted to know what my close friends and family's responses would be. I knew that the responses would be very different because I was planning on asking a very large age group. I asked from my younger sister to my grandma to many other friends and all of the responses were wonderful. It was amazing to talk to all of these people I already knew and be able to learn a little bit more about them and then turn their words into art.
I have never made a project like this before, the size of it and the style of it were completely new to me. I had never handled character design but I was up for the challenge. I liked the idea of my topic so much I knew I would do whatever it took to get it done. I had a vision of what I wanted my book to look like exactly and I knew I would do anything to get it to what I wanted. I pulled a lot of my style of this artwork from simple comic books. In the end, I was very proud of the book I made.
Through the years I have had many people that have helped me get to where I am. One person I would like to thank is my mom, Stephanie. She is always there for me when I need some reassurance on projects. I'd like to thank my grandma, Pauline. Without her, I would not be attending school here at the University of Dubuque and I am so grateful she gave me this opportunity. I'd also like to thank my dad, Chris, He is always a big supporter of all my work I have done through university. I want to thank my younger sister, Amanda. She still has no idea what I do at school but she's always supportive when I show her my work. I'd like to thank my cousin, Zach because he has helped me through college by always being there for me when I need a break to watch a movie late at night. I would also like to thank my friend Kim for always looking over my work and telling me what's wrong with it. One of the most important thanks goes to the professors of the DART department. They have helped me learn all about digital art and design, especially Sheila Sabers for pushing me to do my senior thesis to help make it the way it is now.
Poplar Grove, IL